Anne Tracy Morgan, the youngest of the three daughters of J. P. Morgan, was born in the last quarter of the 19th century. Morgan was educated privately, traveled frequently and grew up amongst the wealth her father had amassed. And like her father, she made a prominent place for herself in the world.
In 1903, she became part owner of the Villa Trianon near Versailles with decorator Elsie De Wolfe and theatrical/literary agent Elisabeth Marbury. She was instrumental in assisting De Wolfe, her close friend, in pioneering a career in interior decoration. The three women, known as “The Versailles Triumvirate” helped organize the Colony Club the first women’s social club in New York City and, later, they helped found the exclusive neighborhood of Sutton Place along Manhattan’s East River.
From 1917 to 1921, she took up residence 75 miles north of Paris at Chateau de Blerancourt, entrusted to her by the French Army, along with 350 American women — all volunteers — to help the war-ravaged civilian population in Picardy in northeastern France. The American Friends of France (AFF) employed several hundred people at a time, with volunteers from abroad and locally recruited staff.
This she financed partly out of her own deep pockets, and partly with the help of an active network in the States. The AFF was active in aiding noncombatants, organizing a health service that still exists in Soissons, as well as a workshop to provide basic furniture to bombed-out families, a holiday camp for children, and a mobile library that was eventually taken over by the library in Soissons, and so on. She returned in 1939 to help the Soissons evacuees.
Anne Morgan came to mind because the American Friends of the Franco-American Museum, Chateau de Blérancourt, recently held their annual gala recognizing two American leaders with the Anne Morgan Women of Courage Award — Ambassador Melanne Verveer and General Rose Keravuori — both of whom personify the quest for peace and resolution.
Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton sent a letter to the American Friends of Blérancourt congratulating her friend on receiving the award. Former award recipient, Judith Pisar, read the letter to guests: “Melanne has been by my side for over three decades now, masterminding countless projects that have changed and saved lives at home and across the globe,” Clinton wrote.
Echoing Secretary Clinton’s words, Melanne Verveer, now the Executive director of Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, paid tribute to the women fighting for peace, whether in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iran, or the Middle East. “If Anne Morgan were alive today, I am confident that she too would be working on the front lines, joining countless other women for peace, progress, and a better tomorrow. Let’s be inspired by Anne Morgan’s legacy, and let’s be inspired by today’s women peacemakers all over the world.”
“This is a time of chaos,” the President of American Friends of Blérancourt Dorothea de la Houssaye said. “As the Franco-American Museum of Blérancourt will celebrate its centennial in 2024, we need to emphasize the role of women leaders not only to strengthen the Franco-American friendship but also build peace worldwide.”
“Both Ambassador Verveer and General Keravuori tread in the footsteps of Anne Morgan, one of America’s first woman philanthropists whose contribution to helping French people and rebuilding France after the First World War still resonates to this day,” Chairman of American Friends of Blérancourt Franck Laverdin added.
Earlier in the evening, General Rose Keravuori, director of Intelligence for the United States Africa Command, was awarded the Château de Blérancourt Award. Both her private and professional life have been intertwined with France.
“Looking back at my military career, I am proud of serving at every rank alongside French forces. I am happy that my parents set the foundation of service and love of France in me, but I am not the only one. You can be confident of the future,” General Keravuori said. “I have met many more women and men, both in the U.S. and France, who are also dedicated to service in the 3Ds of Defense, Diplomacy, and Development, many dedicating their lives to improving the lives of others.”
Among the dinner committee were Renée Anderson, Franck Laverdin, Countess Dorothea de la Houssaye, Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux, Miles Morgan, Sonja Tremont Morgan, and Baron Alexander von Perfall. French Consul General in New York Jérémie Robert, and his wife Shinuna Karume, former Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States Roya Rahmani, Princess Caroline de Murat, Prince Dimitri de Yougoslavie, Prince Dushan de Yougoslavie, Princesse Valérie de Yougoslavie, Nefissa and Christophe Attard, Diane Brady, Contessa Brewer, Carole and Philippe Delouvrier, Susan Gutfreund, Nannette Lafond Dufour, Abelardo Marcondès and Estaban Abascal, artist Roxane Revon, Noriko and Karl Rozak, Olga Rozé, Sana Sabbagh, Sabrina Wirth, and Yolanda Santos also attended the evening.